PRIVATE HERBERT MORRIS DAY 20th September
On 20 September 1917, 17 year old Private Herbert Morris was blind folded and shot at dawn by 6 of his countrymen and fellow soldiers. Morris became one of the 309 British Army and Commonwealth soldiers executed for desertion and other capital offences during World War 1, all of whom were pardoned in 2006.
Annemie Morisse laying a wreath at the grave of Herbert Morris behalf of TNCMC.
A wreath was laid on his grave in Poperinghe Belgium, on behalf of TNCMC for the 4th consecutive year, by Annemie Morisse at 10:00 BST. 2 minutes of silence were duly observed by many in UK.
Organiser Sandra Patterson initiating the ceremony
Organiser Sandra Patterson, her brother Wesley Patterson, his daughter Cassie, invited guests Dr Josh Johnson and RAF Veteran Donald Campbell participated in the ceremony.
Speaker Dr Josh Johnson who sponsored the Herbert Morris Post in 2001.
Dr Johnson recalled initiating the Shot at Dawn Memorial in 2001, via the Chronicle newspaper, seeking sponsorship for 2 of the 309 soldiers represented. Johnson was intrigued to note a fellow Jamaican countryman among those listed. After completing requisite due diligence, Johnson successfully sponsored the Post representing Private Herbert Morris. Nearly 20 years later, his deeds were amplified by the wonderful memorial celebration of this young man who died under such tragic circumstances. This story must now continue, annually, and indeed TNCMC should strive to have a National Herbert Morris Day in Britain.
Speaker Donald Campbell who served 36 years in the Royal Air Force
Donald Campbell recounted his RAF service years, having enlisted at 18, a similar age to Herbert Morris.“We must learn from the past and do our best to avoid any such acts of wars and terrors in the future” he told the gathering.
Salute to Herbert Morris
Herbert Morris enlisted in the 6th Battalion of the British West Indies Regiment (BWIR), which formed in 1915, Seaford, Essex England. It was therefore fitting to parade the BWIR Standard in salutation andrespect of his service.
Cassie Patterson honouring Herbert Morris with his country flag
Post No 200 represents Private Herbert which is one of 309 posts that makeup the Shot at Dawn Memorial.
Visitors watching the ceremony being performed
Other visitors to the NMA, attending the Shot at Dawn Memorial, observed the ceremony and were intrigued by the meaning of the presentation being performed, which created a conversation about the history of the British West Indies Regiment and the story of Herbert Morris.
Sandra’s initiative to remember the life of Herbert Morris is truly stoic. The event was originally scheduled for Belgium with a larger group however plans changed as a result COVID-19 and a reduced party attended the NMA to participate in this very important ceremony.
Walkers at West Park Wolverhampton
Walkers in Lichfield
Individuals participated in the walk in Birmingham (Handsworth Park), Wolverhampton (West Park) and Lichfield. Many wore their Island and military colours in support of this initiative which will hopefully be bigger and better next year.
The day was celebratory and historic for many reasons. It’s a date that should eternally recognise all who were executed in the 1st World War and also serve to remind that such acts should never be repeated. The financial support and raised awareness of the planned National Caribbean Monument to be installed in the NMA as a result of the day’s activities will help to ensure TNCMC forges ahead with its goal to deliver a focal point of remembrance and education of the past, present and future for British/Caribbean nationals.
Massive thanks to all who participated in making this day a success from beginning to end.
Please donate to make this happen: GoFundme:http://shorturl.at/akCV1
Blog by Don Campbell